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Staniscia wins MVP honors in Johnstown baseball league

| Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Washington & Jefferson athletics
Washington & Jefferson outfielder Josh Staniscia bats during the 2013 season.

Josh Staniscia made his third summer competing in Johnstown in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association his best summer.

Staniscia, a 2010 Franklin Regional graduate and rising senior at Washington & Jefferson, was named MVP of the Johnstown division of the AAABA, which brings together top baseball players from Pennsylvania and surrounding states.

He received the award on opening night of the AAABA Tournament last week in Johnstown.

“I was just really grateful to receive the MVP this year,” Staniscia said. “There's so much talent up there every summer. There were so many other guys who were well-deserving — I was just lucky enough to be voted by the coaches to receive the award. It was a pretty cool experience getting that trophy on opening night, in front of 7,000 people.”

Hitting third in the lineup for Johnstown's Delweld team, Staniscia finished the regular season with a .406 batting average, three home runs and 26 runs batted in.

Delweld won the Johnstown division's regular-season title and represented the division at the AAABA Tournament, which brought together teams from Altoona; Baltimore; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cleveland; Livonia, Mich.; Maryland state; New Brunswick, N.J.; New Orleans; Schenectady, N.Y.; Youngstown, Ohio; and Zanesville, Ohio.

Staniscia helped lead Delweld to the championship game of the AAABA Tournament, where the team was swept by Baltimore on Sunday.

“We had a few too many walks, and that cost us against a good Baltimore team,” Staniscia said. “It's too bad we couldn't bring (the championship) home for Johnstown. This is the 69th year for the tournament, and Johnstown's never won. We gave it our best shot — it just wasn't in the cards.”

The AAABA championship loss marked Staniscia's second close call in the past few months. Washington & Jefferson won the Presidents' Athletic Conference championship this spring and advanced to the NCAA Division III Regionals for the second straight year. The Presidents fell short of advancing to the Division III World Series, finishing in third place in the regional.

“We really played pretty well, I thought, for the most part,” Staniscia said. “It was too bad we couldn't beat Marietta and make it to the final, but we had a pretty good run.”

While Staniscia still has one season remaining at Washington & Jefferson, he already ranks highly in several categories in the Presidents' all-time hitting record book. The three-time All-PAC selection ranks third in all-time batting average (.375), first in all-time triples (13) and tied for fifth in all-time hits (184). He also holds the W& J single-season record for triples with eight, set in 2012.

“It's really an honor,” Staniscia said of his lofty position in the Presidents' record books. They've had some great players come through the program in recent years, and I'm just lucky enough to have been able to start since my freshman year and get all the playing time I've had. I've performed well when I've been in the lineup, so I think that's what kept me in the lineup since my freshman year. It's been nice.”

Staniscia credited his coaches — Jeff Mountain at Washington & Jefferson and Chris DelSignore at Delweld — for his success.

He also said focusing on one sport instead of three — he played football, basketball and baseball in high school — also contributed to his recent success.

“(I'm) just putting in a lot of hard work in the weight room,” he said. “I've gotten a lot stronger since high school, so I think that's really helped me improve my game.”

While Staniscia said he wasn't sure what his future in baseball would hold after his senior season at Washington & Jefferson, he's glad he had the experience of playing for three summers in the AAABA.

“It was a great experience — I wouldn't trade it for the world,” he said. “I made some great friends, and we had some pretty good years.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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